Archives de catégorie : biology+acidification

Scientists identify two new species of fungi in retreating Arctic glacier

by Research Organization of Information and Systems, January 15, 2019 in ScienceDaily

Two new species of fungi have made an appearance in a rapidly melting glacier on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic, just west of Greenland. A collaborative team of researchers from Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Tokyo, Japan, and Laval University in Québec, Canada made the discovery.

The scientists published their results on DATE in two separate papers, one for each new species, in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

“The knowledge of fungi inhabiting the Arctic is still fragmentary. We set out to survey the fungal diversity in the Canadian High Arctic,” said Masaharu Tsuji, a project researcher at the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan and first author on both papers. “We found two new fungal species in the same investigation on Ellesmere Island.”

Algae thrive under Greenland sea ice

by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, January 8, 2019 in ScicneDaily

Microscopic marine plants flourish beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea, according to a new study. These phytoplankton create the energy that fuels ocean ecosystems, and the study found that half of this energy is produced under the sea ice in late winter and early spring, and the other half at the edge of the ice in spring.


by Peter Ridd, December 26, 2018 in GWPF

Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected, because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures.

It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking.

To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks careless, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.

The very rapid adaptation of corals to high temperatures is a well-known phenomenon; besides, if you heat corals in a given year, they tend to be less susceptible in the future to overheating. This is why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or because of human influence.

Corals have a unique way of dealing with changing temperature, by changing the microscopic plants that live inside them. These microscopic plants, called zooxanthellae, give the coral energy from the sun through photosynthesis in exchange for a comfortable home inside the coral. When the water gets hot, these little plants effectively become poisonous to the coral and the coral throws them out, which turns the coral white — that is, it bleaches.


Ocean Acidification Background Context

by ‘Guest Blogger’, December 23, 2018 in WUWT

Obiter dictum. We acknowledge that seawater is basic and cannot truly acidify (pH<7). But that is a losing semantic quibble, not a winning skeptical argument. The generally accepted linguistic convention—for better or worse–is that lowering seawater pH means ‘acidification’. There is no doubt that adding dissolved CO2 does lower pH. The relevant questions are how much and whether that amount matters. This post answers both questions (a little, not much) without the two specific false alarms that motivated the ebook version.

There are certainly some ocean related AGW consequences beyond any scientific doubt. Henry’s Law requires that the partial pressures of atmospheric and dissolved ocean CO2equilibrate. Rising atmospheric CO2 must increase dissolved seawater CO2. That is long established simple physical chemistry.

This lowers pH by increasing carbonic acid. NOAA PMEL has documented this in the central Pacific at Station Aloha off Mauna Loa where sea surface pH has declined from 8.11 to 8.07 since 1991, as dissolved pCO2 increased from ≈325 to ≈360μatm while atmospheric CO2 increased from about 355 to 395 ppm. That is Δ0.04 pH in 24 years.

See also here (in French)

La biomasse globale : de larges incertitudes, également sur le cycle du carbone!

by Prof. Paul Berth, 14 décembre 2018 in ScienceClimatEnergie

Dans un article récent de juin 2018[1], le biologiste Yinon Bar-On et ses collaborateurs ont estimé la biomasse totale de la biosphère actuelle (Bar-On et al. 2018). Pour cela, ils ont simplement estimé les nombres de bactéries, protozoaires, plantes et animaux dans tous les écosystèmes de la planète. En connaissant le poids moyen de chaque organisme, les auteurs ont ensuite réalisé des sommes. Ils arrivent au chiffre final de 550 gigatonnes (Gt) de carbone. Ce chiffre est-il élevé ? Avec quoi peut-on le comparer? Est-il précis ? Quels sont les organismes les plus importants dans la biosphère ? Quelles sont les conséquences pour le cycle du carbone, et donc pour la concentration de CO2 atmosphérique ? Voici toute une série de questions que l’on doit se poser. Nous allons voir que les résultats de Yinon Bar-On sont assez étonnants et qu’ils induisent des conséquences majeures pour le cycle du carbone dans la biosphère.


Figure 1. Biomasse totale de la biosphère, en gigatonnes (Gt). Bar-On et al. (2018)

‘Glimmer Of Hope’ For Great Barrier Reef As Study Shows Tolerance To Climate Change

by Nick Visser, December 10, 2018 in Huffpost

Last year’s oceanic heat wave wasn’t as destructive as one the year before, scientists said.

The Great Barrier Reef fared better during an oceanic heat wave last year than during sizzling weather a year earlier that caused hundreds of miles of corals to bleach, according to a study published Monday that suggests the massive structure may be growing more tolerant to climate change.

The report in the journal Nature Climate Change analyzed how corals along the Great Barrier fared in back-to-back mass bleaching events. The reef ― a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest living structure on the planet ― was cooked by overheated seawater in 2016 and again in 2017, with images of sickly white coral horrifying people around the globe.

See also here

A Brachiopod’s Twelve-Decade Response to Ocean Acidification and Warming

by Cross et al., November 29, 2018 in CO2Science

Paper Reviewed
Cross, E.L., Harper, E.M. and Peck, L.S. 2018. A 120-year record of resilience to environmental change in brachiopods. Global Change Biology 24: 2262-2271.

In light of all their findings, Cross et al. conclude that “these rhynchonelliform brachiopods have therefore been unaffected in their abilities to construct and maintain their extensive skeletons by the change in ocean acidity and temperature over the last 120 years.” And this is a noteworthy conclusion, given that C. inconspicua is one of the most calcium-carbonate-dependent species globally, and is therefore presumed to be highly susceptible to ocean acidification. It would thus appear that proper incorporation of species’ adaptation and/or acclimation potentials is essential if scientists are to get predictions of the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life correct.

Thriving reef fisheries continue to provide food despite coral bleaching

by Lancaster University, November 29, 2018 in ScienceDaily/Nature

The unexpected results of a 20-year study into reef fisheries published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution this week showed fisheries being maintained despite extreme coral bleaching. Remarkably, rapid proliferation of fishes with low dependence on corals led to catches remaining stable or even increasing.

But the results also showed fishing success was ‘patchy’ and more dependent on fewer species.

Around six million people fish on coral reefs. Each year their catch — estimated to be between 1.4 and 4.2 million tonnes — provides a critical source of food and income for many millions more.

Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago

by Imperial College, November 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily

The levels of oxygen dramatically rose in the atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago, but why it happened then has been debated. Some scientists think that 2.4 billion years ago is when organisms called cyanobacteria first evolved, which could perform oxygen-producing (oxygenic) photosynthesis.

Other scientist think that cyanobacteria evolved long before 2.4 billion years ago but something prevented oxygen from accumulating in the air.

Cyanobacteria perform a relatively sophisticated form of oxygenic photosynthesis — the same type of photosynthesis that all plants do today. It has therefore been suggested that simpler forms of oxygenic photosynthesis could have existed earlier, before cyanobacteria, leading to low levels of oxygen being available to life.

Now, a research team led by Imperial College London have found that oxygenic photosynthesis arose at least one billion years before cyanobacteria evolved. Their results, published in the journal Geobiology, show that oxygenic photosynthesis could have evolved very early in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history.

See also here

Coral Adaptation and Epigenetics

by Rud Itsvan, November 17, 2018 in WUWT

WUWT has posted several excellent articles by Jim Steele on how global warming alarmism uses corals as the poster child for warming and acidifying oceans, none of which is scientifically justified. A brief review follows, calling attention to a recently discovered additional adaptation mechanism not covered AFAIK by Jim Steele’s posts. The motivation for this post was triggered by a recent lunch with newish neighbor Charles the Moderator (CtM), and his sharing many wonderful underwater photographs of the coral reef he now dives frequently off Pompano Beach (same reef system as off Fort Lauderdale, just a few miles further north and more conveniently onshore).

Proof that Corals are Adapting to Warming Temperatures

by Coles et al., November, 11,  2018 in CO2Science

In light of the above findings, Coles et al. state the obvious, that the corals “were able to withstand elevated temperatures (31.4 °C) for a longer period of time in the current 2017 experiment” compared to the 1970 study. Consequently, they conclude that their results “indicate a shift in the temperature threshold tolerance of these corals to a 31-day exposure to 31.4 °C,” which findings “provide the first evidence of coral acclimatization or adaptation to increasing ocean temperatures.” And that observational reality should hold great bearing on the status and health of coral reefs in response to future climate change. If temperatures rise in the future, clearly, as living organisms, corals can (and do!) adapt. Alarmist predictions of their fast and ensuing demise due to global warming should not be taken too seriously.

Holocene temperature in the Iberian Peninsula reconstructed studying insect subfossils

by University of Barcelona, November 9, 2018 in ScienceDaily

Regional differences regarding other reconstructions

The results of the study show a temperature rise in the beginning of the Holocene, reaching the highest values in the Holocene Climate Optimum (about 7,800 years ago). There are also high temperatures until about 6,000 years ago, when a decline of temperature started and led to the lowest values in the first stage of the late Holocene (about 4,200 and 2,000 years ago).

Last, researchers detected a rise of temperatures over the two last millenniums, but they state they have to be careful with these data. “We cannot guarantee the observed rise in the reconstruction results from a temperature rise only, we cannot rule out other variables that can influence at other levels, such as the gradual increase of the anthropic activity in the area, which can change the community of Chironomidae to species that adapt to higher temperatures, but there are also human influence indicators,” says Narcís Prat.

Although these conclusions can coincide with other paleoclimate reconstructions, results also highlight some divergences at a regional level. “These differences can occur due the fact that some indicators point out to different seasonal signs. Therefore, Chironomidae are indicators of temperature in summer, while others such as chrysophites or alkenones are related to winter/spring temperatures,” notes the researcher.

A tool to evaluate climate trends

Biodiversité, le vrai, le faux et l’incertain

by Prof. Paul Berth, 4 novembre 2018 in ScienceClimatEnergie

Le 30 octobre 2018 sortait le dernier rapport du WWF[1] concernant l’état de la biodiversité (voir ici). Les données obtenues sont très préoccupantes. De nombreux médias ont bien entendu présenté ce rapport de façon très alarmiste en exagérant certains points. Le but du présent article est de remettre les pendules à l’heure, en démêlant le vrai du faux et en présentant certaines incertitudes.

1. Que dit exactement le rapport du WWF? Le rapport du WWF nous dit que globalement, entre 1970 et 2014, l’index LPI (Living Planet Index) a chuté de 60% (Figure 1). Il n’est pas question ici de mettre en doute les résultats obtenus par le WWF mais simplement de les mettre en perspective. L’index LPI est calculé en tenant compte du nombre d’individus pour plusieurs espèces. Au total, ce sont 4 005 espèces qui ont été considérées, réparties en 16 704 populations (il peut donc y avoir plusieurs populations pour une même espèce). Ces populations proviennent de tous les continents. Pour toutes les espèces prises en compte le nombre d’individus a été estimé, puis des sommes ont été établies.

Large stretches of coral reefs can be rehabilitated

by University of California – Davis, September 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily

For the study, published this week in the journal Restoration Ecology, researchers installed 11,000 small, hexagonal structures called “spiders” across 5 acres of reef in the center of Indonesia’s Coral Triangle. Coral diversity is the highest on Earth in that region but is threatened by human activity, including overfishing, pollution and climate change.

Between 2013 and 2015, researchers attached coral fragments to the structures, which also stabilized rubble and allowed for water to flow through freely.


Live coral cover on the structures increased from less than 10 percent to more than 60 percent. This was more than what was reported for reefs in many other areas of the Coral Triangle, at a cost of about $25 per square meter.

Les coraux blanchissent depuis très longtemps

by Prof. Dr. Paul Berth, 5  septembre 2018, in ScienceClimatEnergie

Le blanchissement des coraux est un phénomène dont on entend souvent parler dans les médias. Il s’agirait d’un grave problème environnemental, dont la fréquence augmente, et qui pourrait mener à la perte totale des récifs coralliens. Le réchauffement climatique global, qui serait causé par l’augmentation de la concentration atmosphérique en CO2 est, bien entendu, pointé du doigt. Cependant, le blanchissement des coraux n’est-il pas un phénomène très ancien? Est-il seulement causé par des variations de température? Quel recul avons-nous à ce sujet? Une récente publication de Nicholas Kamenos et Sebastian Hennige, deux chercheurs anglais des Universités de Glasgow et d’Édimbourg, apporte de nouveaux éléments.